Thomson Park Scenic Reserve, Trip #43

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Examining a rock face, covered with mosses, lichens and ferns.

Thomson Park Scenic Reserve is south of Sugarloaf Scenic Reserve, on the Port Hills. In June (2017) we had a look at an area in the northeast of the reserve, around Gilpins and Mitchells tracks.

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We explored some grassland, rock outcrops and bush. There were not many animals to be seen on this occasion, except for a few birds.

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Cloud surrounding the communications tower.

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Rock outcrop, on the south side.

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Rock outcrop, on the south side.

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Rock outcrop, with mosses, lichens, ferns.

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Rock outcrop with silver tussock, bush lawyer, ferns, lichens and shrubs.

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Rock outcrop and hillside, on the south side.

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Inside the bush at the back of Sugarloaf.

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Inside the bush at the back of Sugarloaf.

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Mosses and lichens.


Moss (Breutelia sp.) and lichen (Cladia aggregata). Photo by SF.

Below is more detail for some of what we saw.

SF took several of the photos in this post (noted in the captions), and CM has posted photos too, see here.


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Star jelly (Nostoc sp.).


Liverwort, unidentified species.

Liverwort, unidentified species.


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Umbrella moss (Hypnodendron sp.).

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Cypress-leaved plait-moss (Hypnum cupressiforme).

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Grey-cushioned grimmia (Grimmia pulvinata).

cc Polytrichum juniperinum IMG_1644

Juniper polytrichum moss (Polytrichum juniperinum).

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Breutelia sp.

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Moss, unidentified species.


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Little hard fern (Blechnum penna-marina). The spore producing fronds are the dark ones.

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Hound’s tongue fern (Microsorum pustulatum).

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Bracken (Pteridium esculentum).


Several ferns, mosses and lichens. Photo by SF.

Herbaceous Plants

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Aciphylla subflabellata, concealed in amongst grasses.


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NZ jasmine (Parsonsia heterophylla).

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Leafless lawyer (Rubus squarrosus), with its distinctive yellow prickles.

Trees & Shrubs

Niniao (Helichrysum lanceolatum).

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Rawirinui (Kunzea robusta).

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Mahoe (Melicytus ramiflorus).

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Five finger (Pseudopanax arboreus).

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Cabbage tree (Cordyline australis).


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Lots of different lichens, including the yellow Teloschistes velifer.

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Specklebelly lichen (Pseudocyphellaria sp.)

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Yellow specklebelly (Pseudocyphellaria crocata).

cc Pseudocyphallaria billardieri IMG_1726

A lichen in the family Lobariaceae.

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Lichen on a rock (Placopsis rhodophthalma).

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Stereocaulon sp.

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Cladia aggregata (which is a complex of 4 species in NZ).

Despite the cold day, we had a very enjoyable trip, and are keen to return again soon.

Our thanks to NatureWatch for help with identifications.

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View of Lyttelton Harbour from the Reserve.

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